I love a good true crime TV show. I can sit in the house for hours watching classics like Dateline, 48 Hours, and Unsolved Mysteries. Now, A&E is mixing up the genre a bit with their new original offering, Akil the Fugitive Hunter, a docuseries that, if I had to compare, is reminiscent of the classic show, Cops. Differing from the aforementioned program, Akil delivers a unique twist: Fugitive hunter, Akil Muhammad, is out to capture criminals (obviously), but not just any hooligan, but people who have actually fled from custody after initially getting caught.
A fugitive hunter is an occupation that I was initially unaware of, but as the 30-minute episode trucked along, I was fascinated as Akil Muhammad, and his Los Angeles team, tracked down a bandit who truly believed he was above the law. By the end of the pilot episode, he is captured and proven wrong, but the rush of the show lies in the chase. Fugitives are quick and cunning, often sending bounty hunters, like Akil, on a literal wild goose chase.
The series is formatted interestingly. It starts with narration by actor and activist, Wood Harris (from The Wire fame), who actually happens to be best friends with Akil. Harris’ words sit on top of animation (created by Carl Jones, who is known for his work on The Boondocks), depicting the story of how Akil became a fugitive hunter, or as the images portray, a “modern day superhero.” The show then cuts to tons of Akil’s dizzying run-ins with fugitives. Once again, think Cops, but the hip-hop version.
Akil the Fugitive Hunter is a unique show that, oddly, feels like a necessary addition to the line of programs in the same vein. It’s a diverse offering and one that doesn’t just leave the taste of crime lingering at the end, but a positive feeling of hope that the culprit changes for the better. It’s a bright note within the dark, night landscape where Akil often apprehends his offenders.
Akil the Fugitive Hunter (2017)
Stars Akil Muhammad, Wood Harris